I’m from outside a large town in the north east of Ireland, a town with a pretty distinctive accent.
Even when I meet Irish people here in Australia, and tell them where I’m from, their usual response is: ‘well ya don’t sound like you’re from Drogheda!’. I think it may have been voted the worst accent in Ireland at some stage. But I love it, especially some specific words, you see, people in Drogheda don’t say the word purple, the say ‘puawpul’.
Anything this colour has to be good for you, right?
Last week I was sick, all week. It was horrible, at one stage I was pretty sure I was going to die. I think it may have been the man-flu, it really wasn’t fun. I finally started to feel better on Sunday and decided I needed some warm, vitamin-filled, wholesome food. So I made a big batch of puawpul borscht, yummo!
Even just prepping the veg for this soup cheered me up, the colours were fantastic. Just for giggles I made sure everything that went into it was a shade of purple: the beetroot (obviously), the onions, the cabbage, the potatoes (well the skin at least), even the carrots! What can I say, when you haven’t left the house for four consecutive days, you start to find the colour of vegetables amusing. As the vegetables cooked, the colour changed into the most wonderful deep red, it just looked fantastic, but probably not food to eat on a first date or while wearing your Sunday best. And the colour is pervasive; eat enough of this soup and your wee may just turn a jaunty shade of pink!
Colourful urine aside, this soup is delicious. It’s hearty and filling; sweet, peppery and rich. It goes really well with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of sourdough. And it just has to be packed full of vitamins and good for you things, which is always excellent.
This recipe was given to me by The Fella’s brother; he’s a fantastic gardener and cook. He’s especially good at putting together meals with what he has to hand, following his tastebuds rather than a recipe, a skill I’m seriously envious of. When passing this on he did emphasise that you should vary any of the ingredients or quantities to your taste.
Makes enough for a hearty dinner for four
50 g butter
250 g beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 purple carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ head of purple cabbage, chopped (this is optional, if you don’t want the soup to be too cabbagey, up the beetroot content or use less cabbage)
1 small potato, peeled and roughly chopped (also optional, I chucked a spud in to thicken the soup up a bit, if you prefer a thinner soup, leave it out).
2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 litre beef stock
1 tbsp sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne (optional)
3-4 dashes of tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream and chopped chives to serve
To start, melt butter in large, thick-bottomed pot and add all of the chopped vegetables. Sweat the vegetables on a low heat with lid on for about 10-15, until they begin to soften. They take on a beautiful pink colour from the beetroot. Next, add the stock along with the sugar, paprika, and cayenne and bring to a simmer. Cook for about half an hour, or until vegetables are all tender. Then remove from heat and blitz with a hand blender or food processor until smooth and lump free (add a little extra water if needs be). Add lemon juice to taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and topped with a sprinkling of chopped chives or spring onions and some crusty bread.
Hearty, warm, filling and colourful. Who doesn’t love a puawpul soup?
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